Smart Home helps DD individuals live more independently


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The Southern Ohio Council of Governments (SOCOG) was awarded grant funding to purchase a Mobile Smart Home to promote awareness of technology-based support for people with developmental disabilities.

Devices and services called “remote supports” can give people access to support staff over two-way video or audio conversations. In addition, many technologies in the home such as security systems, door locks, cameras and motion sensors are accessible by remote staff from a central monitoring facility.

Remote supports are designed to complement traditional in-home services, and individuals can choose which option is right for them. These supports can allow greater privacy and independence while reducing the cost of services and allowing more people to receive services during a shortage of available staff.

SOCOG received the $20,000 grant on Jan. 1, 2019 from Ohio State’s Nisonger Center and the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council. SOCOG’s grant funds went toward the purchase of a trailer that was outfitted in April 2019 with technology by Total Homecare Solutions, LLC, a leading provider of remote support services.

Ohio’s goal of creating awareness about remote supports was formalized on May 24, 2018, when Governor John Kasich signed an executive order making Ohio a Technology First state. This order specifically stated Ohio’s goal to “ensure supportive technology solutions are considered when determining the appropriate services and supports to be provided for people with developmental disabilities.”

SOCOG’s grant proposal called for a technology expert to lead the grant’s efforts. Due to his extensive background in technology and knowledge of service delivery, George Myers, IT director at the Ross County Board of DD, was chosen for this role.

“The 15 counties SOCOG represents are so spread out that a Mobile Smart Home just makes sense. We can take the technology to people where they live and let them see what remote supports look like in person,” Myers said.

Five counties in the SOCOG region are formally participating in the grant with a designated liaison to help educate people in each county. Liaisons include Renee Guess (Fayette), Kelli Williamson (Highland), Lana Matthews (Jackson), Jeremy Joyce (Pickaway) and Myers (Ross).

The Mobile Smart Home has been present at events in Brown, Fayette, Highland, Pickaway and Ross counties and demonstrations have already been done for hundreds of people.

More information and a schedule of future events can be found at http://socog.org/remote-supports.

Submitted George W. Myers, IT director (Grant Technology Expert).

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